In recent years, local authorities have taken an increasingly proactive approach in pursuing prosecutions against landlords under the Housing Act 2004 for a wide range of breaches of housing regulations. Those who rent out residential property will be acutely aware that the law governing the obligations that come with being a landlord can be complex.
If you find yourself the subject of a prosecution you need legal advice from a solicitor with specialist knowledge of the relevant legislation, and a proven track record in defending clients in these cases to ensure that your personal position is protected.
The Regulatory and Compliance Team at Wilford Smith are able to deliver exceptionally strategic advice for landlords involved in all types of investigations and prosecutions. If you are convicted of breaching housing regulations following a criminal court case you may receive a substantial financial penalty, or in some cases a prison sentence. With the required skills, knowledge and determination to ruthlessly develop a top-level strategy on your behalf, you can be sure that our solicitors are well placed to help achieve the best result for you. Contact our Regulatory and Compliance Team to find out how we can help.
HMO Housing Prosecutions
Prosecutions relating to failure to comply with requirements for renting out Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) are particularly common. An HMO is a term relating to a rented property with shared facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. These types of properties, such as a house or flat rented out to three or more tenants forming two or more households, or one that has been converted into bedsits let out to three or more tenants forming two or more households, require a licence to be rented out.
If you are suspected of having control or management of an HMO without the required licence you may be subject to criminal charges. Similarly, if you have breached HMO Management Regulations in the course of renting out the property, for example by failing to ensure that fire or gas safety standards have been met, you may find yourself subject to criminal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court. Other offences regularly targeted by local authorities include statutory overcrowding and illegal evictions. If found guilty, landlords can be subject to fines and will find it extremely difficult to obtain an HMO licence in the future.
Local Authority Investigations
Responsibility for regulating the private rental sector, as well as for investigating and prosecuting offences committed under the Housing Act 2004 and issuing enforcement notices, lies with the local authority. In most cases, the first time a landlord will be aware that they are subject to an investigation will be when they receive a letter requesting them to attend a meeting or an interview under caution. Getting the right legal advice at the earliest stage can be vital when it comes to protecting your personal position. Wilford Smith's Regulatory and Compliance Solicitors have years of experience when it comes to dealing with local authority investigators, as well as an enviable reputation for advocacy and litigation skills should prosecution proceedings be undertaken.
Contact our Landlord Defence Solicitors in Sheffield
At Wilford Smith, we take pride in our reputation for unique representation, giving our clients a service that is exceptionally strategic and results driven, and are able to attract the highest calibre barristers to provide support when necessary. By instructing a member of the Regulatory and Compliance Team at Wilford Smith you can be sure that you will receive straightforward and jargon-free advice as part of our client-focused and highly personal service.
Our Regulatory and Compliance Solicitors are based in Sheffield and serve clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.